Tan Weddings & Events, in operation for over 15 years, is a husband-and-wife, minority-owned business (Rick is Chinese, Filipino, Jennifer is English, Armenian, Croatian). We have thus far served over 1,500 couples of a diverse multi-ethnic background (African, Asian, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American - people of all colors). We work with other small businesses that are equally diverse. We encourage richly cultural ceremonies and traditions. We proudly feature diversity in our social media feeds. We are guided by the core principles of cultural diversity and unity, embracing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). But this is not about giving ourselves a pat on the back; modeling diversity is not enough.
We need to be a beacon for change - first shining a light inward to acknowledge our collective shortcomings, then secondly, shining it outward to plot an action plan towards improvement. This page is a work-in-progress, as we are a work-in-progress. It is a living, growing document of our efforts to align our commitment to unity in word and in deed. It is to help bring awareness and education. Ultimately, if enough of us serve as beacons for change, then the voyage towards peace, equality, and unity will put all of us on a brighter course.
Beacons for Change
We all yearn for the most fundamental need of human beings - to love and be loved. We can claim it as a right of every one of us on earth. Sadly, some of us have chosen to violate that right - through actions that strip away an individual's self-worth, self-esteem, and self-identity.
In this staggeringly challenging time, we all hope to bring peace to our global communities where human rights violations are rampant, to speak out against tragedies as a result of the historical and ongoing legacy of racial injustice and gender-based violence in the United States, to dismantle broken systems and rebuild a more enlightened society, to make a difference. Making a difference means each of us can be a point of light, a beacon for change. Some do it on a personal level - from conversations with your children during dinner to rising up as a charismatic voice for the people. Others may choose to use their businesses as a forum to effect change. Giant, billion dollar corporations such as Amazon can do it on a massive scale, where their message can be heard by a multitude of people.
Can a small, minority-owned business such as ours make an impact? Absolutely!
When we got married 26 years ago, we felt blessed for the warmth and openness we received from our families - it was about love, no matter our different faiths or color of our skin. Since then, as owners of Tan Weddings & Events, we have been committed to serving “all faiths, all cultures, and all partnerships” - our humble way of making an impact. Through our service as officiants and planners of weddings, we are proponents of unity, equality, and diversity. We are in a position to bring people of all color and cultures together in a joyful experience to celebrate and uphold the most fundamental of human needs - to love and be loved.
To love and be loved. It is so simple, so Zen, so poetic even. For a wedding business, it seems crystal clear to us, and we believe if all 7.6 billion people on earth followed this Golden Rule, all our problems would be solved, truly. Unfortunately, we all have alienated ourselves from each other with layers of broken systems, biases, prejudices, injustice, mistrust, delusions of superiority, hate. With all that to cut through, a mantra of "love and be loved" seems awfully naive and idealistic. We want to challenge you and us to believe we can together break through those layers and heal.
Change takes time, learning and growing takes time. We, as a business and as indviduals, are continually, day to day, reflecting inward and evaluating our thoughts, words, and deeds, striving to become better people. If we all acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do, and that we have to do it with the core values of peace and unity, we can begin to heal.
Our Pledge to Unity is a starting point as a wedding business to be a beacon for change. We will continue to model equality and unity in our professional setting as well as foster these values in our personal lives. We will continue to revise our pledge and to implement a plan of action that is thoughtful. We hope for a world that fully, wholly, and joyfully celebrates our differences and sameness. Love and be loved - it’s our right.
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
Pledge to Unity
In our ongoing commitment to uphold unity, equality, diversity, and peace, we pledge:
To Engage in Learning | We listen to our clients and concerned citizens, engage in thoughtful dialog, and share educational and developmental platforms for staff, clients, vendors, and community, so we may support one another in raising our awareness and understanding about equality, justice, and inclusivity.
To Cultivate a Safe Sanctuary | We cultivate a company culture that embraces people of all color, faiths, gender, partnerships, experiences, and capacities, where we foster a kind and caring environment that is safe, judgement-free, and protected, holding ourselves responsible for honoring all as unique individuals.
To Advocate for Diversity | We embody our core principles of diversity and inclusion by actively collaborating with BIPOC-owned small businesses, embracing a clientele of all faiths, all cultures, and all partnerships, empowering our Inclusion Specialist to expand our knowledge, and allocating resources for promoting diversity.
To Be Accountable | We are vigilant in analyzing our processes, examining our content, imagery, words, and actions to be aligned with our core principles. We are taking accountability for our business and calling ourselves out if we are not following our own commitment to be a beacon for change.
A Starting Point for Anti-Racist Awareness and Action
This is a list compiled by Joey Tan, Inclusion Specialist, TWE, and Elita McFadden, MA
HISTORY & CONTEXT of RACISM
Historical Foundations of Race | Article Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture “American society developed the notion of race early in its formation to justify its new economic system of capitalism, which depended on the institution of forced labor, especially the enslavement of African peoples. To more accurately understand how race and its counterpart, racism, are woven into the very fabric of American society, we must explore the history of how race, white privilege, and anti-blackness came to be.”
13th | Netflix/YouTube Ava DuVernay “Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.”
Being Antiracist | Article Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture “While individual choices are damaging, racist ideas in policy have a wide-spread impact by threatening the equity of our systems and the fairness of our institutions. To create an equal society, we must commit to making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our lives.”
How to be an Antiracist | Video Ibram X. Kendi “‘The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it,’ writes professor Ibram X. Kendi. That is the essence of antiracism: the action that must follow both emotional and intellectual awareness of racism. Kendi sits down with journalist Jemele Hill to explore what an antiracist society might look like, how we can play an active role in building it, and what being an antiracist in your own context might mean..”
OPPRESSION, INTROSPECTION, & APPLICATION
Racial Healing Handbook | Handout Anneliese A. Singh “In so many ways, to heal from racism, you must re-educate yourself and unlearn the processes of racism. This book can help guide you.” This handout from the book serves as a brief antiracism primer for both white and non-Black people of color.
So You Wanna Talk About Race | eBook: $10.99 Ijeoma Oluo “...Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to ‘model minorities’ in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”
The Book is Anti-Racist | eBook: $2.99 Tiffany Jewell “Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing and give you the courage and power to undo it.”
Me and White Supremacy | eBook: $2.99 Layla F. Saad “This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”
Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Institution | PDF Crossroads Ministry A continuum that progressively highlights the institutional conditions correlated with leading anti-racist change.
Here’s what I’m doing to build anti-racism into my business | Blog Post Krista Walsh “I believe small businesses will play a big role in our slow clambering out of our racist systems. Part of that is because single-person businesses like mine have the ability to change their structure, their decisions, and their goals as quickly as a person can. So, as I work on unlearning racism in my personal life and interactions with the world, I want my business to transform alongside me.”
The Anti-racist Small Business Pledge | PDF Rachel Rodgers A five-point pledge to antiracism for small businesses.
Racial Justice at Work: What Can Businesses Do? | Virtual Panel Fri, June 19, 2020, 9:30am - 10:30am PDT Suffolk University “What can and should businesses be doing to address racial injustice at this difficult time? What can be gained by acting swiftly, and what actions will have the most impact? What are the consequences of inaction by the business community? Join us and a panel of three Boston business leaders experienced in driving positive change around diversity and inclusion for this urgent discussion.”
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." -- Buddha